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  Breining and CAADE: Uniform path to success for California counselors, based upon nationally-recognized and credible standards.  
    FAQs regarding RAS to CATC Credential Transition    


Uniform path to counselor certification in California


Sharing the common goal of providing addiction professionals with credible and meaningful credentials, Breining Institute, which has provided higher education, training and certification for addiction professionals since 1986, has collaborated with the prestigious California Association for Alcohol / Drug Educators (CAADE), in order to establish a uniform path to an advanced tiered AOD/SUD counselor certification in California.


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers regarding this transition that only applies to California counselors:


Most recent update: January 23, 2015

Q: My employer recently received a notice from a CCAPP organization claiming I need to re-register or get re-certified by March 19. I was already re-registered with CAADE by Breining in August 2014, and my RAS Credential shows I am still certified until 2016. Do I need to re-register or get re-certified by March 19?

A: No.
These are desperate claims still being made by a new membership organization, CCAPP, trying to recruit members by claiming RAS registrants and Credential holders need to re-register or be re-certified with a different agency by March 2015. Those claims are false, according to the applicable law, California Code of Regulations, Title 9, Div. 4, Chap. 8, Section 13035.

As announced in July 2014, Breining and CAADE joined forces to transition California AOD/SUD counselor to a uniform, credible and State-approved counselor credential: the Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATC) Credential.


This transition has made the CATC Credential the fastest-growing and most sought after entry level AOD/SUD counselor certification in California.


As part of the transition program, Breining transferred the registration of eligible California counselors to CAADE in August, and certified RAS counselors will be transitioned to the CAT Credential upon their renewal dates over the next two years, which keeps these counselors in compliance with California registration and certification laws during this two year transition.

Q: I signed up and paid for the ACE Exam in 2014, but didn’t take it by the California December 31, 2014 deadline. Now I want to take the CATC Exam to earn the CATC Credential from CAADE. Can you help me with the CATC exam fee?

A: Yes. We have established a joint courtesy accommodation for CATC Candidates who signed up and paid for, but did not take, the ACE Exam in 2014. Even though this accommodation is costing both CAADE and Breining additional monies as we forfeit a portion of our respective exam fees, we want to do everything we can to help candidates earn the CATC Credential.

The courtesy accommodation for CATC Exam candidates who paid for the ACE Exam in 2014, but did not take or fail to show up for the ACE Exam prior to December 31, 2014, is as follows:

  • For California RAS Exam candidates who paid for the ACE Exam in 2014,

  • But did not take or fail to show up at a scheduled time for the ACE Exam in 2014,

  • If the candidate signs up for the CATC Exam with CAADE by June 30, 2015,

  • Breining will pay CAADE for the candidate's first CATC Exam (retakes or rescheduling of the CATC Exam, if necessary, will be the responsibility of the candidate).


As announced in July 2014, Breining Institute and California Association of Alcohol / Drug Educators (CAADE) teamed up to provide a uniform credential system in California, a part of which is the transition of California RAS Credentialed professionals to the Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC) Credential. As an accommodation to candidates who had been preparing for the Addiction Counselor Exam (ACE Exam), CAADE agreed to accept the successful passing of the ACE Exam in lieu of passing the CATC Exam, provided the candidate passed the ACE Exam by December 31, 2014.

Even though passing the ACE Exam after December 31, 2014 is not accepted by CAADE for CATC Credential eligibility, the ACE Exam is still offered by Breining Institute at over 500 test centers located throughout the United States and Canada, and passing the ACE Exam still qualifies the candidate to be awarded the Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) Credential, held by addiction professionals in 47 U.S. States.

For the candidate who has signed up and paid for the ACE Exam fee, Breining has already provided, as part of the exam fee, The Addiction Professional and The MAT Counselor textbooks - valued at between $54.50 and $100.70 (depending upon whether the material was provided in electronic or paper format) - to help the candidate prepare for the exam.

Breining no longer automatically accepts sign ups from California counselors seeking to take the ACE Exam, until we confirm that the counselor is wishing to take the ACE exam for a purpose other than to earn the CATC Credential.

As a courtesy accommodation to California candidates who paid for the ACE Exam in 2014, but did not take the exam (or fail to show up for a scheduled exam time, for which Breining is charged the full exam fee by the testing agency) prior to December 31, 2014, and are seeking to be awarded the CATC Credential, Breining will pay CAADE for the candidate's first CATC Exam if the candidate signs up for the CATC Exam with CAADE on or before June 30, 2015. This accommodation will only apply for the initial exam, and retakes (if necessary) of the CATC Exam will be the responsibility of the candidate.

Here is a link to the CATC Exam Application at the CAADE website:

The CATC candidate, when sending in the CATC Exam Application to CAADE, should include notification they paid for but did not take the ACE Exam in 2014. CAADE will confirm this information with Breining, prior to advising the testing agency of the candidate’s eligibility to sit for the CATC Exam.



Q: Can I still take the ACE Exam and be awarded the RAS Credential after December 31, 2014?

A: Yes. The ACE Exam will continue to be administered throughout the United States, including California, after December 31, 2014, and Breining Institute will continue to award the Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) Credential, which is held by addiction professionals in 47 US States and 14 countries.

For counselors in California who wish to earn the State-approved CATC Credential, CAADE will accept candidates who have passed the ACE Exam by December 31, 2014. After December 31, 2014, if they have not already passed the ACE Exam, CATC candidates will need to pass the CATC Exam administered by CAADE.

For California counselors seeking to use the ACE Exam to qualify for the CATC Credential, new sign-ups for the ACE Exam (California counselors only) were cut-off as of December 1, in order to allow candidates sufficient time to schedule and take the ACE Exam prior to December 31, 2014.

Q: My employer needs me to confirm I am registered with CAADE, and in compliance with California law requiring my registration. How can I do this?

A: You may confirm your registration with CAADE at the Centralized Data Base, which includes alcohol and other drug / substance use disorder (AOD/SUD) professional counselors who are registered and/or certified in accord with California law, including all Breining counselors recently transferred to and re-registered with CAADE in August, 2014. The Centralized Data Base may be accessed here:


Q: My employer received a notice from the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Notice No. 14-028, that says I need to re-register with another certifying organization by March 19, 2015, or I will lose my right to work. Is this true?

A: No. The DHCS notice is confusing and incorrect, and we have requested DHCS retract and correct the misinformation in that notice. The law is clear that, because all Breining California counselors have already been re-registered with CAADE in August 2014 as part of the Breining/CAADE transition to a uniform certification standard in California, these counselors do not need to re-register with any other certifying organization, and the RAS counselors certification remains valid until its expiration date. (California Code of Regulations, Title 9, Div. 4, Chap. 8, Sections 13035(d) and (e).)


Q: My employer is getting notices and letters saying my RAS Credential is no longer valid, and that I have to get a different certification within six months. Is this true?

A: No. State law says your RAS Credential will remain valid until your renewal date. When you renew your credential, Breining will renew and transition your RAS Credential to the CATC Credential, another State-approved and recognized certification. When you renew through Breining, we will also renew your RAS and other Breining credentials at no extra cost. You can renew now, if you wish, by using the RAS-to-CATC transition application which is available here:


Q: California law says I need to be registered with a State-approved certification organization, and I’ve been registered or certified with Breining for years. Other certification organizations are telling me I need to switch my registration to them. Do I need to switch?

A: No. As part of this transition to a uniform certification standard in California, all current California counselors registered and/or certified with Breining have now been registered with CAADE, at no cost to the counselors, so they meet the California registration requirement.


Q: Now that I have been "registered" with CAADE, does this mean I am "certified" with CAADE and have the CATC credential?

A: No. State of California law requires "registration" of AOD/SUD counselors, whether or not they are "certified" as AOD/SUD counselors. All Breining counselors in California have now been "registered" with CAADE, so that you maintain your compliance with California law.

However, in order to hold the CATC "certification," you must either get your RAS Credential transitioned to the CATC Credential through Breining, or earn and be awarded the CATC Credential directly through CAADE. If you transition to the CATC through Breining, we will also continue to award you the nationally-recognized RAS Credential, which is held by AOD/SUD counselor professionals in 47 US States. An RAS-to-CATC transition application is available here:


Q: I let my registration or certification with Breining lapse, but would like to be part of this transition to a uniform California credential. Can I still do this?

A: Yes. Bring your registration or certification up-to-date with Breining, then we can transition you to the CAADE system and the CATC Credential career track. Use this link to bring your registration or certification up-to-date:


Q: I already have the RAS Credential. What do I need to do to get the CATC Credential?

A: You may wait for Breining to invoice you as you approach your renewal date, or you may complete your renewal and receive the CATC Credential now, by using the “RAS to CATC Application” at this link:


Q: I have advanced RAS or specialty Credentials from Breining. What happens to me?

A: Breining will continue to issue and renew its advanced RAS II, RAS III and M-RAS Credentials, as well as the Specialty Credentials including the CSC, MCA, CWTS, MATC, FAC and CCDS. Counselors with the advanced RAS II, RAS III, or M-RAS Credentials will be renewed with both the CATC and their advanced credential, so that they remain in compliance with California law (relating to the entry-level certification) and still retain the recognition of having earned their advanced and specialized credentials.


Q: I am registered with Breining as an RAS Intern, and want to earn the CATC. How do I do this?

A: Complete a 45-unit Addiction Studies Certificate program with Breining (or other approved CAADE school); complete/document 2,080 hours of clinical experience and 160 hours of supervised clinical experience; and then pass the CATC exam administered by CAADE. More information about the “Steps to Success: Earning the CATC Credential through Breining” is available at this link:


 Q: I am new to the field, need to be registered with a State-approved certification organization, and want the CATC Credential. How do I do this?

A: Get registered with CAADE, which you may do through the Breining web site, and then follow the steps listed in the question above to earn the CATC. Here is a link to get registered with CAADE:


Q: I’d like to be awarded the CATC Credential in California, but also continue to keep my RAS Credential, which is nationally-recognized and held by addiction professionals in 47 US States. Can I still maintain my RAS Credential?

A: Yes. Transitioning to the CATC is for the establishment of a uniform standard in California, but the RAS Credential will continue to be awarded by Breining to counselors throughout the United States, as well as to California counselors. When you transition your RAS to the CATC through Breining, there will be no additional charge for us to renew your RAS or other Breining-issued advanced and specialty credentials.


Q: Are CAADE and Breining merging into one organization?

A: No. Breining and CAADE have teamed up to administer this uniform and credible professional certification in California, but each will remain separate organizations as they continue to work together to develop more programs and services for addiction professionals. More information about these organizations can be found at their respective websites at or



* * *


More information about this tremendous opportunity for all California AOD/SUD professional counselors seeking a
meaningful counselor certification can be found here:


Breining Institute

8894 Greenback Lane

Orangevale, California 95662

Telephone: 916-987-2007


Web site:

California Law
California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 9, Division 4, Chapter 8, Sections 13000, et seq.

AOD Counselors
You must be registered within 6 months
of providing AOD counseling services, and

then fully certified
within 5 years.


At least 30% of your staff providing
AOD counseling services
must be certified.
Employers will be cited for non-compliance.



Code of Conduct
All registered and/or certified
AOD counselors are subject to the
Calif Uniform Code of Conduct


These credentials are registered service marks, and may only be used by professionals who have been awarded these credentials by Breining Institute.
"Registered Addiction Specialist" and "RAS" credentials: Service Mark Reg. No. 65739, Class Number 41
The "Addiction Counselor Exam" and "ACE" Exam are registered service marks of Breining Institute:
"Addiction Counselor Exam" and "ACE" Exam: Service Mark Reg. No. 68184, Class Number 41


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